Startup Weekend Columbus

    Friday, November 15 - 17, 2019

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Judges
  4. Coaches and Mentors
  5. Sponsors
  6. Organizing Team
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Startup Weekend Columbus

Friday, November 15 - 17, 2019

Friday, November 15 - 17, 2019
Event starts at 6:00 pm

Root Insurance
80 E Rich Street
Suite 500
Columbus, Ohio 43215

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Bring your idea to action in 54 hours!

Join us on November 15-17th for the next edition of Columbus Startup Weekend at the new ROOT insurance office. 

What happens at Startup Weekend? In 54 hours you and your team of talented people across all disciplines will turn an idea into a reality. This is where entrepreneurs, designers, coders, hustlers, and innovators in Central Ohio come together to prototype and validate business ideas for viable ventures.

It all happens in one weekend, so bring lots of energy! 

On the first night, you'll pitch your idea or listen to others, then vote on the most interesting ideas and form teams with diverse skill sets. You can come with friends, but you’ll get the full experience if you participate in separate teams. Remember, it’s all about the team.

Feel like you might not be prepared? Don’t worry, we all begin at the same starting point. This means your idea should be something you have not previously worked on. The idea you pitch and the problem you set out to solve can span social, educational, financial, environmental, or other issues.

Over the course of the weekend, you'll be challenged to create a prototype of your MVP, or minimum viable product, that fits the needs of your target customer. You'll get feedback, iterate, and likely pivot your approach entirely! Everyone is welcome and no previous entrepreneurial experience is necessary.

It’s a full weekend of discovery, connection, and fast launch of ideas to businesses. Don’t wait, get your ticket today!
  • With Early bird, pricing tickets are available for 50$ till Oct 6th 
  • Semi-Early Bird Tickets will be available for a limited time! in Oct ($75 instead of the full price of $100) before switching to full price.
  • Looking to watch and not participate for the whole weekend? Pick up a Demo Day ticket to watch the final pitches on Sunday evening. This applies to Sunday only.

What's included:
  • A weekend-long event to build and launch a business concept with a collaborative team
  • Space to work for the weekend at the beautiful new ROOT insurance office space
  • Invaluable access to a community of entrepreneurs, mentors, and experts (even more coming soon!)
  • Access to the top entrepreneur and tech talent serving as mentors throughout the weekend
  • 3 dinners, 2 lunches, 2 breakfasts (We feed you good food!)
  • An awesome t-shirt
  • All the coffee, soda, energy drinks, and water you could ever need
  • An amazing experience and chance to get a taste of the startup world
  • An opportunity to network with like-minded individuals
  • And probably more
Watch the introduction video below from our March 2019 event.

Feeling inspired! Click on the “Buy Ticket” button now! What are you waiting for?

Students! - use promo code STUDENT for half price tickets. Student Photo ID required on the day of the event.

Still, have questions, feel free to reach us at “”.

See what it's all about

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Friday November 15th

6:00 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

6:30 pm
Startup Showcase
Meet our featured startups and Columbus Startup Weekend partners.

6:30 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

7:20 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

7:30 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

9:00 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches

9:15 pm
Form Teams
Teams start forming and discussing ideas

10:00 pm
Begin Work
Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Saturday November 16th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:30 am
Begin Work
Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend

12:00 pm

1:00 pm
After-lunch check-in, status reports, call for help

2:00 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!

6:30 pm

7:30 pm
After-dinner check-in, status reports, call for help

10:00 pm
Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Sunday November 17th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

11:00 am
Coach Meetings
Coaches arrive. Final opportunity to ask questions

12:00 pm

3:00 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, tech-check for final presentations also takes place

4:00 pm

5:00 pm
Final Presentations

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:30 pm

9:00 pm
Go Home!

Event Judges

Kate Ball
Attorney - Gillespie Law Group

Kate started her career at a large international firm, where her practice ranged from private equity finance to antitrust litigation.  Since then, Kate has encountered almost every business issue a company will face.  She has experience with employment law, contracts, securities, government regulation, and IP law, to name a few.   Drawn to the entrepreneurial community and the goal of fostering innovation, Kate eventually sought like-minded attorneys who share her vision of a true startup law firm.  She now represents emerging companies in various phases: concept (formation, founders’ agreements, IP ownership), seed/launch (early investments, licenses, client contracts); early operating (funding rounds, employment issues), and exit.  Kate’s goal with each representation is the same: to meet entrepreneurs and startups where they are with the legal and industry knowledge they need.

Sarah Woods
Senior Product Manager at Root Insurance Company

Sarah has spent her career building great products for incredible startups. She currently serves as the Senior Product Manager for Root Claims and held previous leadership roles at CoverMyMeds and PriorAuthNow. Sarah is also the founder of Shatter, a social enterprise that uses technology to close the gender wealth and leadership gaps. 

Coaches and Mentors

Ned Bauerle
Director of Solutions Development at Leading EDJE

Ned Bauerle is the Director of Solutions Development for Leading EDJE, an IT consulting firm in Columbus who are serious tech experts solving serious business problems, without taking themselves too seriously in the process.  They refer to themselves as 'Real,Fun.Geeks'. Ned has over 23 years of experience delivering high quality software solutions. As a consultant, he has worked in a variety of industries planning and implementing architecture, software, and business processes focusing on technology projects to deliver high quality, tangible business results.

Alex Brown
Partner at Dickinson Wright

Alex is legal counsel to privately held companies, focusing on tech and software startups. He helps clients with capital raising, commercializing and protecting intellectual property, e-commerce, and mergers & acquisitions. He is also a member of Ohio TechAngel Funds IV and V. Alex’s law firm, Dickinson Wright, has 17 offices in the United States and Canada.

Derek DeHart
Product Manager

Derek is a Product Manager at Root Insurance, a company using technology to reinvent the car insurance industry. As a Product professional with over 15 years of leadership experience, he serves teams by helping them to discover the next most valuable thing to deliver to their customers.

Derek is also a passionate member of the social entrepreneurial and technology communities in Columbus. He led the organizing team for GiveBackHack Columbus 2018 & 2019, co-organizes the Columbus Product Club, and serves on the Small Business Assessment Advisory Committee for the City of Columbus.

Mason Estep
President, Platter

Mason has spent his career developing food and beverage products and companies. He founded a beverage company which produced 25,000 units while attending Ohio University. In January 2017, he founded a funded venture to develop technologies for restaurant chains in the barbecue and pizza industries. The company was acquired in May 2019 and Platter was spun-off. With it Mason and team dedicated themselves to smart sensors and food safety for the betterment of man.  

Andrew Frank
Coding Instructor at TechElevator

Throughout his technical journey, Andrew Frank has had the opportunity to solve complex business problems as a Developer, Architect, Development Manager, and Technical Lead at companies ranging from startups to established enterprises. Technologically, he has had the chance to work with many technologies and frameworks, including ASP.NET [], C#, Java, Ruby, PHP, JavaScript, and Angular. Along the way, he has also had the privilege and joy to coach and mentor developers looking to establish and further their careers in meaningful ways.

Brent Hammer
AVP, Enterprise Innovation Officer

As Enterprise Innovation Officer for Grange Insurance, Brent guides investment decisions around innovative solutions, drives innovation efforts forward in support of corporate strategy, and aims to boldly position the company for an exciting future.   He has 15+ years of industry experience, including Big-4 public accounting and Fortune 500.  Brent has a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Ohio University, MBA from the University of Dayton, and is a licensed CPA and Property & Casualty Insurance agent in the state of Ohio.  He also has several other insurance industry designations, including Chartered Property & Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), Associate in Reinsurance (ARe) and Associate in Risk Management (ARM).

Mark Harris
Agile Innovator and team builder at Fuse by Cardinal Health

I am passionate about building high-performing software teams and always eager to connect with similar leaders. While I enjoy many aspects of software development, like many engineers, I enjoy seeing the results of our labor, and I have been lucky to see our work used by millions of people around the world.

I hold an MS in Computer Science from University of Washington, and a BS in Computer Science from The Ohio State University. If you're a former colleague, manager, or just a passionate software engineer, I'm always interested in hearing from you.

Specialties: software program & project management, Agile software development (Scrum), large-scale distributed systems, and iPhone application development. Some of the technologies I have experience with include Azure, AWS, Ruby on Rails, Elixir, iOS development with Swift & Objective-C, C#, C/C++, and JavaScript.

Morgan Landis
Digital Consultant / Business Owner

Morgan Landis is a storyteller and designer. She started her career as journalist but quickly fell into digital marketing, and then eventually, digital design. She is now a User Experience (UX) contractor and small business owner. Her business Contented Design works with startups, small businesses, and social enterprises to ensure they have the most efficient, effective, and engaging experiences for their customers/users. That means looking at the whole picture and figuring and/or designing the different puzzle pieces; websites, social media, digital strategy, and service design. 

Carolyn Morgan
UX Researcher at OCLC

Driven by a motivation to democratize research, Caro invokes curiosity and grit to craft and implement creative and effective research approaches that allow team members to uncover insights and allow us to collectively build better products. She advocates for humans - not just users - and asks the questions needed to expose information required to deliver useful products. Caro contributes to the Columbus UX community through local leadership with IxDA and is always open to conversation and coffee.

Jonathan Nutt

Jonathan is a co-founder of Rhove, a technology that aligns the incentives of property owners and renters to promote home ownership. Previously, Jonathan served as the Director of UX Strategy for IBMix (fka Resource/Ammirati) and Head of User Experience for Beam Dental.

Scott Preston
Director of Software Engineering at Columbus Collaboratory

Scott is currently working as Director of Software Engineering at the Columbus Collaboratory. Prior to that he worked at practice leader at ICC and as an independent consultant to startups and enterprises focusing on Mobile, UI, Web Analytics and Cloud. Scott has been speaking in Columbus and Nationally for the last 15 years and has spoken on topics about IOT, robotics, artificial intelligence, smart homes, and Iron Man Suits. Scott has also written many books both by APress and self-published on Amazon. Reach out to Scott you need help with anything technical or marketing related.

Dan Rockwell
CEO, Big Kitty Labs

Dan is a startup-launching engine that keeps big kitty purring by applying his passion for helping businesses leverage their technology to provide a superior experience for their customers. He is a regular speaker and mentor at Startup Weekend Columbus, hosts and organizes the monthly Wakeup Startup series, and fuels innovation at The Ohio State University.

LoLo Smith
Founder, Owner, The Black Project

Loren (LoLo) Smith is the Founder of The Black Project, a creative agency dedicated to developing out the brand identity and marketing strategies for small urban businesses. She has worked with over 300 brands in the midwest region. Originally from Dayton, Ohio, she kicked off her adult career by co-hosting a local talk show for young adults called the Green Room. LoLo is currently working to sphere head the advancement initiatives of minority businesses and highlight the importance of circulating the dollar through our urban communities. She currently serves as the Marketing Co-Chair for CULYP and as a mentor through the Starfish Alliance program developing our Columbus youth. LoLo has created platforms such as Surviving Business to discuss and offer solutions for individuals struggling in business, lacking resources and connecting opportunities to scale their ventures. She is an advocate for the use of technology and social platforms to build sustainable ecosystems in the minority community and is currently developing an app to bridge the gap and make accessing black businesses and services in any area easier. She was awarded top 100 creatives to be on the look out for and has spoken and trained on over 20 platforms.

As well as thriving professionally, LoLo is a strong advocate of personal health and mental health. She was diagnosed with Lupus seven years ago and within the last year received the diagnoses of Lymphoma, completing her last round of treatments in August of 2019, being cleared as cancer free. Due to the direct impact of Lupus, she is an active member of the Lupus Foundation of America Greater Ohio chapter. She encourages all entrepreneurs find a healthy balance between work and personal/mental health. Her goal is to continue to serve her community and promote black businesses.

Emily Stokes
Industrial Designer

Emily is an industrial designer who loves to bring great products to market. At Priority Designs, a Columbus product design consultancy that has been helping clients for 30 years, she works on products ranging from medical devices to golf clubs. Emily works to understand the user’s perspective and needs to craft a solution that improves their lives.

Craig Turner
Executive Director at EDGE Innovation Hub

Craig Turner is Executive Director at EDGE Innovation Hub — a food innovation ecosystem founded by Jim Grote of Donatos Pizza. Craig’s passion is to create community. As a brand strategist, visual communication designer, artist, and musician; Craig uses innovation process to solve problems and help organizations grow. He developed the Superpower Brand Strategy Process specifically for businesses driven to make the world a better place. With this unique process, businesses connect with an audience that shares their vision and wants to join their mission, creating value and multiplying the good work they do. 

Hemalatha Venkataraman
Design Researcher

Hemu is a glocal architect, artist, and design researcher who works at the intersection of these faculties towards social innovation. After her Bachelors in Architecture from India and her MFA in Design Research Development from The Ohio State University, she has been working at Stratos Innovation Group, a local innovation agency based in Powell, Ohio. 

Her strength and specialization lies in bringing together academic and the business worlds together to take a holistic view of a given design space and critically examine how it can yield the most socially-inclusive and business-viable solutions possible. She currently contributes to the art and design community by attending and competing in events such as GiveBackHack, and as a frequent artist-social commentator-storyteller in the local Columbus art scene. Feel free to hit her up for tea and conversations. 

Caterina Rizzoni
Staff Industrial Designer

Caterina is an industrial designer at Kaleidoscope Innovation, a full-service insights, design and development firm in Cincinnati, Ohio innovating across medical, consumer and industrial markets. She has experience taking products to market, from research and insights, to conceptualization, prototyping, validation, and design for manufacturing. In addition to her work at Kaleidoscope, Caterina is the vice chair of the Central Ohio district of the Industrial Designers Society of America, and a member and advocate of Women in Design.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Columbus team is grateful for the support of local community partners without whom this event would not be possible.
Learn how to become a sponsor here.

Signature Sponsors




In Kind

Organizing Team

Techstars Startup Weekend Columbus is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Andrea
  • Vijay
  • Juliette
  • Sandhya
  • Matt
  • Jeff
  • Ryan
  • Matt
  • Peter
  • Trevor
  • Haley
  • Katharine
  • David
  • Katie
  • Vijay


Grant Carlile
Managing Director, The Mountains

Grant thrives on curiosity, coffee, and office supplies.
Drawing on my experience growing three businesses, building out content strategies, coaching teams in multiple capacities across multiple industries for 12+ years, and creating relationships with personnel of many walks of life, I thrive on curiosity, coffee, and office supplies.

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